I was hoping it would never come to this, but, alas, it has.
My sister has been ringing my phone off the hook today. Her laptop will not boot. The worst part is: she lives 3 hours from me and expects me to be able to work my magic over the phone, which is nigh impossible. I have no way of getting to the laptop anytime soon, and she has no XP disk. She desperately needs the laptop for school.
Dell Latitude D610 (bought refurbished off eBay a year ago..against my advice...)
XP Pro (not sure of service pack...probably 3)
80GB hard drive (barely used any of it)
Intel Pentium M processor (don't recall exact speed)
decent computer, but it gets overheated easily.
Anyway, I don't recall every boot error she has gotten (she never writes any of it down
), but the main one is something along these lines:No bootable device found
with 2 BIOS beeps.
There is no CD in the drive, and no USB device plugged up. I had her check the BIOS, and the hard drive showed up as first in the list.
She first had problems Saturday, but I was out with a friend and couldn't help at the time. Sunday, I hear second-hand from Mom that Sis somehow got it working. How, I don't know. She said something about setting an "Administrative system password". She now has to enter a password before the thing will even boot. I never set a system password on my computers. Obviously, I have a BIOS password and an account password, but I see no reason to have a system password that you have to enter before it even starts to boot. I don't know...
Anyway, she claims she had to do that to fix it. What gave her that idea, I have no idea. She's about as computer literate as your Grandpa George. You say: "Hit F2 to go into the BIOS." and she says: "Huh?"
She did finally get to the F8 recovery options today, and was able to boot into safe mode with networking. She also had a BSOD sometime since the problems started, so I got her to run Bluescreenview once she finally got into Safe Mode hoping for a clue...
Dump File : Mini032910-01.dmp
Crash Time : 3/29/2010 1:15:15 PM
Bug Check String : ATTEMPTED_WRITE_TO_READONLY_MEMORY
Bug Check Code : 0x100000be
Parameter 1 : 0xaaca77e2
Parameter 2 : 0x27b23121
Parameter 3 : 0xf79da9d8
Parameter 4 : 0x0000000b
Caused By Driver : fltMgr.sys
Caused By Address : fltMgr.sys+2b52
File Description : Microsoft Filesystem Filter Manager
Product Name : Microsoft® Windows® Operating System
Company : Microsoft Corporation
File Version : 5.1.2600.5512 (xpsp.080413-2111)
Processor : 32-bit
Computer Name :
Full Path : C:\WINDOWS\minidump\Mini032910-01.dmp
Processors Count : 1
Major Version : 15
Minor Version : 2600
Not what I was hoping for...
Sometimes it will boot into Safe Mode, and sometimes she gets a BSOD. She said she smacked the side of it, then it worked for a time. With the "No bootable device" error, my first inclination was failing hard drive. That might explain the inconsistency. But after the Bluescreenview log and the BIOS beeps, it could also be the RAM. I don't have a clue what brand of BIOS or hard drive is in this thing. I tried searching the internet, to no avail.
She has no CD's to burn a Memtest disc (no computer to burn one with either), and wouldn't know how anyway (even with explicit instructions, she gives the ol' "I don't know how" excuse, without even trying). Like I said, she has no XP disc, either. I have one in my possession, and could possibly mail her a copy...but I'm not sure what I would have her do with it if I sent one. Probably a chkdsk first. But it's like pulling teeth to even get her to do the simplest of tasks. I could run the gamut of things to try in less than an hour if I had my hands on it, but it would take days to walk her through that over the phone...and neither of us have that much patience. She screamed into the phone more than once today...her patience with computers is extremely small. "Why won't it work??!!!!"
is a typical phrase she'll use. She's afraid she'll have to buy a new computer, and lose all her data (she's never made a backup, of course
) along with a few hundred dollars for the new computer.
I'm fairly certain it's hardware related, but I hesitated putting this topic in the Internal Hardware sub-forum. If needed, I'll post a link myself in the "tidiness thread" in order to have it moved, but for now, I'll take my chances with the XP sub-forum.
I can't get her to test the hard drive or RAM. It won't boot normally at all. Safe mode works sometimes. Where do I begin?
Thanks, in advance, to all brave enough to take on this monumental task.